Best Pixel phones 2022: we've ranked all the Google Pixel handsets worth buying

Google Pixel 7 Pro Best Pixel Phones logo
(Image credit: Future)

Google keeps raising our expectations for the best Pixel phones, but there are some things we can rely on. We know that Pixel phones have amazing cameras, assisted by Google's computational wizardry. We know they get Android updates first, and they use an interface and hardware paired to match. 

The newest phones are finally available, and we've completed our Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro reviews, so we're confident in saying these are the best Pixel phones Google has made. In fact, these are some of the best smartphones you can buy, with features like Photo Unblur and upcoming Clear Calling that competitors won't match. 

Google's past Pixel phones, including the Pixel 6 Pro, the Pixel 6a, are still a great buy. They use Google's own chips and give you many of the features of the newest phones. Google also likes to bring some of the new stuff back to loyal fans, so the Pixel 6 family is a fine choice. 

Google tends to release a phone model accompanied by a more advanced, pro version late in the year. Then in the mid-year, around the time of it's big Google I/O conference, Google will launch an update that could be a bargain model, offering key features in a cheaper package. 

Now that we have the Pixel 7 phones thoroughly tested, we can give you the most up-to-date list of the best Pixel phones available. We've used everything from the original Google Pixel right up to the Google Pixel 7 family, but we're only featuring the ones you can actually buy new.

If none of these appeal, there's are plenty more great options in our list of the best Android phones to check out. The guide you're reading is for smartphones that were actually made by Google, with Google inside and out.

Best Pixel phones 2022

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Google Pixel 7 Pro

(Image credit: Google)
The best Pixel phone

Specifications

Release date: October 2022
Weight: 212g
Dimensions: 162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3120
CPU: Google Tensor G2
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 48MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10.8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Intuitive and easy to use
+
Photo Unblur truly fixes older photos
+
Snappy and responsive interface

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks the deep feature set of best competition
-
Battery and charging time could be better
-
Macro Focus didn’t blow us away

The Google Pixel 7 Pro takes amazing photos with ease, night and day, but it also takes the photo experience further than ever before – it actually made our photos from older phones look better. For now, that’s something you can only do with a Tensor G2-enabled phone like the Pixel 7 Pro; in fact, there are quite a few things the Pixel 7 Pro can do that none of its competitors even attempt.

The Pixel 7 Pro listens better – literally. It recognizes speech more accurately, making Google Assistant more useful. It doesn’t just make photos better, it makes them more clear, and more inclusive, using Real Tone technology to enhance skin tones. It will soon make phone calls sound better.

We wish that the battery life were more impressive, and the Macro Focus mode wasn't as magical as many other Google Photos features. The phone delivers on some amazing promises, even if it can't keep them all. 

Read our full Google Pixel 7 Pro review

Google Pixel 7 lemongrass front and back

(Image credit: Google)
The best Pixel for less money

Specifications

Release date: October 2022
Weight: 197g
Dimensions: 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Google Tensor G2
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4355mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10.8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Unique color options and design
+
Same Tensor G2 performance as Pixel 7 Pro
+
Great camera with creative features

Reasons to avoid

-
90Hz display feels dated at this level
-
Lacks the zoom camera of the Pro
-
Faster charging would be nice

Like the Pixel 7 Pro, the Pixel 7 arrives with Google's latest Tensor G2 chipset, which, paired with Google's own take on an Android 13, delivers a satisfying user experience, with everyday tasks made that little bit easier.

The Pixel 7 sports a design that, while divisive, feels considered and premium. The cameras sit within an imposing aluminum band that helps the phone stand out from the crowd, especially in its price range, and the smaller 6.3-inch display size and thinner bezels (compared to the Pixel 6) mean the Pixel 7 is more comfortable to hold, and more pocketable, than before.

The biggest shortcomings are most notable in areas where this phone, by design, trails behind the Pixel 7 Pro, with its slower display and the absence of a telephoto zoom lens.

Even so, the user experience feels polished, the AI-supported features are unique and competent, and the promise of more functionality via forthcoming 'feature drops' mean this Pixel is only likely to get better with time.

Read our full Google Pixel 7 review

A Google Pixel 6 Pro against a white background

(Image credit: Google)
A great Pixel camera phone

Specifications

Release date: October 2021
Weight: 210g
Dimensions: 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.71-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3120
CPU: Google Tensor
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5,003mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 48MP + 12MP
Front camera: 11.1MP

Reasons to buy

+
Multitalented camera
+
Big and beautiful screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Contentious design
-
Average battery life

The Google Pixel 6 Pro is arguably the first truly top-end phone Google has ever made, and certainly the first one in a while.

Yet it takes a different approach to most flagships, and to most Pixels. Its design is all-new, and very different to other phones from any brand. It won’t be to everyone’s taste with its big visor-like camera block, but it will certainly turn heads.

Google has also taken the unusual route of equipping the Pixel 6 Pro with a home-made chipset called the Google Tensor. This is designed with AI and machine learning in mind, and it’s built specifically for the Pixel 6 range.

Add in a versatile triple-lens camera, with a 50MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 48MP telephoto (with 4x optical zoom), plus a 6.71-inch QHD+ screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and this is an enormously exciting handset.

In our review we found that the battery life wasn’t the best, but that aside this is the best Pixel you can buy.

Read our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review

A Google Pixel 6 against a white background

(Image credit: Google)
The best mid-range Pixel

Specifications

Release date: October 2021
Weight: 207g
Dimensions: 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.4-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Google Tensor
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4,614mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic photos
+
Intriguing design

Reasons to avoid

-
No zoom lens
-
Middling battery

The Google Pixel 6 isn’t quite as exciting as the Pixel 6 Pro, but the most important features remain intact. That includes an unusual design with a three-tone color scheme, and the powerful new Google Tensor chipset, designed to improve photography, speech processing and more.

Beyond that, the Google Pixel 6 also has a dual-lens camera that we found capable of taking true-to-life photos, plus a sizeable 6.4-inch screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, and Android 12 out of the box.

It’s also a remarkably well priced phone, making the Pixel 6 an ideal choice for anyone who doesn’t feel the need to splash out on a true flagship, but still wants some high-end features.

The lack of a telephoto camera hurts it, and the battery life is average, but for the price you’re paying these are small complaints.

Read our full Google Pixel 6 review

Google Pixel 6a in black

(Image credit: Google)
The best on a budget

Specifications

Release date: May 2022
Weight: 178g
Dimensions: 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Google Tensor
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,410mAh
Rear camera: 12.2+12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Relatively compact size
+
Clean software

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor battery life
-
Slow charging

The Google Pixel 6a is a fairly small and lightweight phone that will easily slip into your pocket. It might feel a little cheap but an effective fingerprint scanner and an attractive 6.1-inch full HD+ screen helps counteract that.

The 12.2MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, and 8MP selfie cameras are all backed up with a plethora of neat AI software tricks and extras so you can create some great photos here. Even better is Google's Magic Eraser tool to remove unwanted elements (or people) from your snaps. 

Offering mid-range performance works well for the Google Pixel 6a thanks to its clean stock Android 13, with the only real downside being fairly awful battery life. Despite that though, the Google Pixel 6a is worth checking out for those seeking out a small phone.

Read our full Google Pixel 6a review.

Google Pixel 5

(Image credit: Google)
The best older Pixel

Specifications

Release date: October 2020
Weight: 151g
Dimensions: 144.7mm x 70.4mm x 8mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6-inch
Resolution: 2340 x 1080
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 16MP + 12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Camera software is better than ever 
+
Metal case is refreshing change from glass 

Reasons to avoid

-
No telephoto 
-
Middling night photography 

The Google Pixel 5 might drop some advanced features compared to its predecessor, but it means you get a simplified phone that still does everything you could want, and at a competitive price. The standout feature is easily the Pixel 5's camera software with a plethora of different editing tools and plenty of ways to create better imagery from your snaps. 

The phone also offers superior battery life than before thanks to the backup plan of the Extreme Battery Saver feature which claws things back to the very basics when you're running low. 

It's those little things combined with the clean Android interface of the Google Pixel 5 that makes it an appealing proposition at an attractive price. Just keep an eye out for that slightly slower processor than the competition and the removal of Soli - Google's touch-free gesture control system. They're small sacrifices for an otherwise good smartphone. 

Read our full Google Pixel 5 review

Google Pixel 5a

(Image credit: Google)
A reliable mid-range phone with a great camera

Specifications

Release date: August 2021
Weight: 183g
Dimensions: 154.9 x 73.7 x 7.6mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.34-inch OLED
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,680mAh
Rear camera: 12.2MP + 16MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great camera
+
Big battery

Reasons to avoid

-
No zoom camera
-
Limited improvements over predecessor

A lot like the Google Pixel 4a 5G but with a better battery and a slightly bigger screen, the Google Pixel 5a is a solid improvement upon an already good phone. 

Its 6.34-inch Full HD Plus OLED display looks great, and its 12.2MP main camera and 16MP ultra-wide camera offer a plethora of features that mean you'll be able to take some great snaps even in the dark.

Expect reliable performance too with Android 11 out of the box, fast speeds when browsing, playing games, or anything else you fancy doing. 

Read our full Google Pixel 5a review